What's the difference between gelato and ice cream?
Ice cream is one of the world’s best-known frozen treats. Combining milk, cream, egg yolks, and sugar, ice cream is the frozen canvas for limitless flavors from rich chocolate to sweet fruit delicacies. While there are countless variations and forms of frozen dairy, many are colloquially known as ice cream despite there being legal distinctions and definitions between them.
In the United States, the Food & Drug Administration classifies ice cream as containing a minimum of 10% milkfat and typically contains between 6-10% nonfat milk solids (in inverse proportion to milkfat.) Most modern ice creams contain multiple dairy products, egg yolks, flavorings and additives such as stabilizers.
Gelato, on the other hand, is not as steeply regulated by the FDA but typically contains a lower percentage of cream and fewer, if any, egg yolks. Gelato is often produced with a smaller amount of overrun or incorporated air, resulting in a denser final texture.
While gelato may seem thicker than ice cream, gelato often has fat content half that of ice cream and because of that its flavors often come through with a heightened sense of vibrancy. Gelato is more prone to single or simpler flavors in order to accentuate this fact while ice creams may benefit from multiple simultaneous flavors and textures.